NetSuite and Google Analytics: How Can You Distinguish a Customer From a Visitor?


Over the last decade, online businesses have grown from boutique online retailers to market players such as Amazon and eBay. As the online market share continues to grow relative to traditional retail, and as the online experience becomes a crucial part of all business planning, web analytics and analysis will move to the forefront for tracking growth and revenue.

For website analysis, the standard that most everyone uses is the free Google Analytics tool. By applying some simple codes to your web pages, Google can track referrals, visitors, time on site, search keywords, on page clicks, and many other valuable pieces of data. Most everyone uses Google Analytics because it is good and quite comprehensive – and considering that it’s free, it represents a great value. Google Analytics has a great system for reading referral traffic; and considering that Google is the standard for pay per click, it is easy to hook up PPC campaigns and track their performance.

The challenge with Google, however, is the same challenge one faces when using In most instances, once someone places an order, we have to move to a different system to track that order. This same issue crops up when working in an ecommerce environment and the analytics are disconnected from the order system.

Some of the benefits of a NetSuite based ecommerce system is that NetSuite can track most, if not all, of what Google Analytics tracks, including search keywords. For example, to match up keyword conversion tracking from Google to NetSuite, you define all the keywords you want to use in Google and then manage the inventory in NetSuite which will generate unique campaign URLs that reference your landing pages. These URLs are then used as landing pages for keyword campaigns in Google. Once you do this, as people click through PPC ads, NetSuite will track the information. Now that you have both NetSuite and Google Analytics tracking the same data, you can use both reporting systems to compare results to get a comprehensive perspective of your web site visitor behavior.

NetSuite’s Reporting Goes Beyond Google Analytics

NetSuite can also go further because it can distinguish between a visitor and a customer. Because NetSuite is an integrated CRM and ERP, the reports will have information on customers and their order history, and is capable of giving a more comprehensive view of how a visitor and customer behaves on your site. Simply, NetSuite’s offers more data, providing a more robust reporting structure.

Lead conversion is available because we are tracking the speculative activity on the shopping system, as well as the orders taken. From here, we can view conversion percentages – this is where Google may have a difficult time tracking. Even though there are ways Google can do this, such as by setting up analytics scripts on receipt pages and informing Google of the order and the amount, in experience, they are often inaccurate. NetSuite’s holistic system provides a more error free environment to analyze conversion data and metrics.

Bottom line, when using web analytics on a NetSuite eCommerce site, you will want to code for both NetSuite and Google Analytics, and compare the data. That way, you will be getting the best of both worlds, and have more comprehensive – and insightful – web reports.

Copyright © Marty Zigman 2011

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